Father Ryan announces 2023 Hall of Fame class

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Father Ryan High School has announced the 2023 Class of the Athletics Hall of Fame inductees, which includes six athletes, one contributor, and two teams whose accomplishments showcase the legacy of the school’s successful athletic programs in Nashville and Tennessee.

These athletes and leaders represent classes from 1935 to 2010 and were selected from more than 100 nominations submitted by the community. They will be inducted formally into the Hall of Fame in a special ceremony on Sept. 7, 2023, at Father Ryan and will be the honorary captains at the school’s Sept. 8 home football game.

The 2023 Athletics Hall of Fame members are:


• Marty Graham, Class of 1954, golf.

Just the third golfer inducted into the Father Ryan Athletics Hall of Fame and the first for whom golf was the only sport played, Marty Graham’s success on the course is synonymous with the Graham family name. Joined by his brother Lou, Class of 1956, in leading the Irish to the 1953 state championship, Graham’s success continued into college and beyond, as he quickly became one of the most highly regarded amateur golfers in the state. 

With the Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raiders, he won the Tennessee Intercollegiate in 1958, The Volunteer Athletic Conference Championship in 1955 and 1957, and the Ohio Valley Conference Championship in 1955 and 1958. He later participated in the first Tennessee Challenge Cup Match in 1968 when the amateur team defeated the professionals. He also won the Tennessee Golf Association Senior Amateur in 1998 and 2000 and was named the Senior Amateur Player of the Year in 1993 and 1994.


• Rachel (Derrick) Jones, 1999, basketball, volleyball.

A multi-sport leader on the court, Rachel (Derrick) Jones starred throughout the fall and winter in both volleyball and basketball for Father Ryan. On the volleyball court, Jones’ expert defensive play provided a reliable steadiness along the back row, as she helped to guide the Lady Irish to the 1998 regular-season championship, a second-place finish in the Father Ryan Invitational, and the team’s second straight runner-up finish in the state tournament. 

On the basketball court, Jones was selected to the 1998-99 All-Region Team as the Lady Irish were undefeated at home during the 1998-99 season and reached the state tournament in all four years of her high school career.


• Billy May, 2002, basketball, football.

A three-time letterman in both football and basketball, Billy May excelled on the gridiron and on the hardwood for Father Ryan. As a senior,May’s play on the football field earned him All-Conference, first-team All-Midstate, and first-team All-State selections, and he was named a finalist for the state’s Mr. Football Award. 

On the basketball court, May helped lead the Irish to the 2002 State Championship – the fourth in school history – and was named the MVP of the State Tournament, a first-team All-Midstate, and a first-team All-Conference selection. May was also named a finalist for the Moss-Oliver Award, given annually to the top high school senior male and female scholar basketball player in Davidson County, and he closed out his career by being named the state’s Mr. Basketball in 2002. He went on to play football for the University of Pennsylvania.


• Ellen Mullins, 2010, volleyball.

Epitomizing consistent excellence, Ellen Mullins became the first volleyball player in Father Ryan’s illustrious history to start every match for four consecutive seasons, a career that saw the Lady Irish win the Division II Championship in 2006 and finish as the state runner-up in 2007, 2008, and 2009. This libero and defensive specialist was an All-State and All-Region selection all four years of her high school career with the Lady Irish, and a four-time selection to the Tennessean All-Midstate Team. 

Mullins was named the Lady Irish’s Most Valuable Player in both her junior and senior seasons. She continued to excel in college with the University of Tennessee, setting numerous records for the Lady Vols. As a salute to her legacy of talent and leadership, Father Ryan retired her number 20 in 2014.


• William Wehby, 1947, football.

Playing center on the offensive line for the Irish football team, William Wehby truly was at the center of Irish athletics during his time at Father Ryan. Wehby was a three-time Monogram Club letter winner and a 1946 All-State Football Team selection as a senior. Wehby was a driving force along the offensive line that helped to pave the way for Father Ryan to outscore opponents 125-57 during the 1946 season, fueled largely by a 106-32 edge in the final six games of the season and a 5-1 record in that span.


• Frank Wilk 1935, football.

As a captain leads through adversity, so too did Frank Wilk. A defensive tackle, Wilk was the captain of the football team, and he persevered through his senior season while nursing a visibly painful hand injury. 

Wilk was named the “honored member of the school in sports” as a senior and was the only Football player in the city of Nashville who was named to the Banner All-Nashville team in both 1933 and 1934. His leadership of the team to three straight wins to close the season despite the countless injuries is a testament to his example as a respected leader among Father Ryan student-athletes.


• Jim Langdon, 1954, coach, teacher, to be inducted as a contributor.

A 1954 graduate of Father Ryan, Jim Langdon has made a lasting impact on the lives of thousands in the Father Ryan community. Langdon taught history for 54 years – making him the longest-serving faculty member in the school’s history – and for 10 years (1964-1974) he was the head coach of both the freshman football and basketball teams while also serving as an assistant coach for the varsity teams of both sports. 

His focus on history is truly fitting given that his tenure in the classroom and in athletics firmly establishes his presence in Father Ryan’s lasting legacy, and his experience in both roles exemplifies what it means to be at Father Ryan. As a student, Jim was highly involved in numerous student groups, from the C.S.M.C. and the Glee Club to intramural sports, and he even played “B” team basketball for one season.

• 1964-65 Basketball Team.

This team will be remembered not only for its on-court dominance, but also for its off-court impact in the local community and beyond. Head coach Bill Derrick, class of 1948, led the team to the regular-season District Championship and won the District Tournament en route to a 27-2 record for the season. On the strength of that momentum, they won both the District Tournament and the Region Tournament and earned an invitation to the State Tournament for the first time in 14 years. 

In addition, the team made history in January 1965 when it played and beat Pearl High School, the state’s Black high school champion, on a last-second bucket by Lyn Dempsey, class of 1965 in the first game played between an all-black school and a predominantly white school. Combine that success with Willie Brown, class of 1965 – the “Jackie Robinson of high school sports” – breaking the color barrier at Father Ryan in 1963 and thereby integrating high school sports in the state and the region, and it’s clear why this team is one of the best and most important in Father Ryan history.

• 2002 Baseball Team.

Led by 11 seniors and coached by Father Ryan Hall of Famer Bill Brunner, class of 1977, the 2002 Father Ryan Baseball team secured the school’s first-ever state championship on the diamond. The team’s strong play in the regular season prompted invitations to multiple tournaments across the state, including the USA Classic Tournament as well as the Tullahoma Tournament. The strong performances against local and regional opponents — including five wins against Montgomery Bell Academy — propelled the Irish to wins in 19 of their final 22 games, including the three pivotal wins in the state tournament where they held each of their three opponents to two or fewer runs while scoring 24 runs across those three games.

“I am thrilled to read and talk about the nominees each year, and I am always touched by their stories and their accomplishments,” said Ann Mullins, director of athletics and a 2003 graduate of Father Ryan. 

“From legendary athletes from the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s to outstanding student-athletes from our more recent history, this class is another tribute to the legacy of Father Ryan,” she said. “Add in the two historic teams from 1965 and 2002 and the presence of Mr. Langdon, our longest-serving faculty member, and we have a truly exceptional Hall of Fame class. 

“I thank the Hall of Fame Selection Committee for their outstanding work and look forward to celebrating these men and women in September,” Mullins said.

For information about nominating candidates for future classes, visit www.fatherryan.org/hof.

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